(Photo by Pat Lindsey)

The Kinsella Cabin, in winter.


(up-dated 22/Nov./2013))

Above is the Kinsella Cabin at Pleasant Ridge Park in Fairview Heights Il. Larry's great grandfather built this cabin sometime between 1860 and 1880. It was restored by the city of Fairview Heights during the bicentennial year of 1976. It originally had a central fireplace accessible from both sides on both floors. It was constructed of white oak and walnut logs. Larry lived in this cabin, which had an L-shaped addition, with his family until his dad built a modern brick home next door in 1960. The cabin and the surrounding 95 acres were sold to Fairview Heights in the '70s. Larry saved a lot and built his home there in 1976. He still roams the hills of the old home place looking for morels and snapping an occasional picture.

Kinsella Cabin Video via KSDK, channel 5, St. Louis

  The small waterfall at Pleasant Ridge Park.

  (Next 10 Photos by Prosper Kinsella) Here's the Kinsella farm with associated buildings .

The cabin (with rear addition and covered with siding) circa 1945.

The outhouse is in the foreground. There are 2 workshops. The red one was the tool shed and the one on the far left was believed to have been the harness shop, at one time. The large striped building in the background was the cow barn and there's a smaller shed to the right that was the chicken house.

. The cabin in 1945 with Cy Kinsella home on leave and Emily Kinsella (his mother) sitting in the front yard. Rita is kneeling while Bob and Jim Giedeman play to the left. Mary Giedeman  and Estelle Schafer are to the right. The smoke house is to the left and the tractorgarage is behind the smoke house..

Jim Kinsella on the old International "H" headed out to cultivate corn. The tractor garage is in the background and the well is to the right.

Dolly and Queeny, with a third horse, and the cabin in the background. This was Cy's favorite team.

The horse lot, with a corner of the horse barn, in the upper left.

Lawrence Kinsella circa 1945.

The rest of the Lawrence Kinsella family (mid '60's??).

 (back row) Cyril, Thomas, Joseph, and Prosper.

(front row) Estelle, Emily (Lawrence's wife), Luitgartis, and Mary.

The William Kinsella farm located across the Little Canteen Creek Valley. It was the Alfred Kinsella farm later and is now one of the greens, on the site of the Stonewolf Golf Course, in Fairview Heights. Note, the well in the foreground and the tool shed/garage to the right. The barns and hog lots were about 100 yards behind the house. The old Devil's Hole mine was located on this property, next to the B + O tracks.

(Photo LK)

In 1976, Joe Kinsella and Sons won the contract to restore the Kinsella Log Cabin at Pleasant Ridge Park in Fairview Heights, Illinois. The cabin was restored as part of a grant for the National Bicentennial.  Larry was a carpenter working for Joe and and worked on the project. He took dozens of pictures of the cabin's reconstruction. This picture shows the cabin with the addition (left rear) removed. The clapboard siding is still in place and work has started on the roof replacement.  

(Photo LK)

This picture shows the exterior after the siding had been removed and the roof had been completed. Most of the chinking had been removed at this point and the building had to be braced from the inside to keep it from swaying.

(Photo LK)

This is what the chinking looked like in the corners. The chinking was made by first, wedging chunks of wood between the logs then, applying mud and straw over the chinking.

(Photo LK)

This is the cabin after the chinking was removed and replaced with modern plaster.

(Photo LK)

Here's what the chinking looked like between the floor joists, inside.

(Photo LK)

This is the memorial plaque on the cabin.

  (Photo LK)

The Kinsella Cabin in the fall.

 (Photos LK)

The Rita Kinsella Memorial Garden at Pleasant Ridge. Rita was a judge for the National Iris Society for many years and the garden contains many different varieties of Iris.

    (Photos LK)

 The Rita Kinsella iris, 2007. (above) This dwarf iris was named after Rita.

William Kinsella was a carpenter who worked on the trestle for the B+O railroad tracks which lead from Caseyville to O'Fallon IL. The trestle is no longer visible as the entire route has been filled to the top with crushed stone. Railroad sidings served the Devil's Hole Coal Mine located on the North side of the junction of the B+O tracks/East O'Fallon Dr. and Pleasant Ridge Rd.

Devil's Hole Knap-in was named after the adjacent Devil's Hole coal mine that operated from 1933 to 1940. It's 2 main shafts, followed the Herrin coal seam and produced over 20,000 tons of coal. It used the room and pillar type of construction. Larry's great grandfather ,William Kinsella, was a carpenter and built the trestle, that had a siding, leading to Devil's Hole and 2 other mines, located about 1/2 mile to the East. William emigrated from County Cork, Ireland, in 1850, lived in Caseyville for a while, then, found the site he would name Pleasant Ridge Farm. He lived with his family in a tent for 4 years, then built the log cabin, sometime around 1860. The reconstructed cabin still stands at Pleasant Ridge Park. Larry lived in that cabin until he was 16 and moved to an adjacent new house his dad, Cyril, built in 1961. After Cyril's death in 1962, Larry's family stayed in the new house until 1972 when the city of Fairview Heights bought the farm for the new Pleasant Ridge Park.

An excerpt from "The Battle of Virden"

Who were the miners who led this fight? The best known was Alexander Bradley, a 32-years-old mule driver who worked in the Mt. Olive mines. Born in England in 1866, Bradley came to Illinois at age seven and within two years was already working as a slate picker in a Collinsville mine called "Devil's Hole." By the mid-1890's, Bradley had traveled widely throughout the Midwest, tramping with other unemployed miners to Chicago and taking part in the famous march to Washington, DC of Coxey's Army of the unemployed of 1894. Now living in Mt. Olive, Bradley led the march which stepped off in July, 1897. In the course of the strike, "General" Bradley, as he became known, developed a well-earned reputation as a colorful and charismatic figure.8 Arriving with his "troops" in Collinsville, for instance, Bradley sported "corduroy trousers, a light blue coat, white shirt, brown straw hat, toothpick (narrow and pointed) shoes, at least three emblems of secret societies and several rings on his fingers...[as well as] a light cane or a furled umbrella."9 bradley

On other occasions Bradley wore a Prince Albert coat and a silk black top hat, and seemed to have an unflappable ability to inspire his fellow miners to continue the fight. Using ballads and cajoling and the presence of mass marches, Bradley inspired his fellows to fight for their "liberty" in the same way they braved the mines every day underground. Their time was coming, he assured his brothers and their families.


For an article on the early miners in Illinois and  a link to the Devil's Hole Coal Mine, go to:

For info on the Devil's Hole Mine go to: Devil's Hole Specs    (Page 49)